Exploring the Universe near and far: highlights from ESA’s space science programme

Exploring the Universe near and far: highlights from ESA’s space science programme

Is there water under the surface of Mars? What does the Milky Way look like in 3D? What is the Universe made of? Did comets deliver the raw materials for life to Earth? To answer these and other exciting questions, ESA operates a fleet of spacecraft studying the Sun and the Earth's magnetic field, orbiting Venus, Mars, and Saturn, and collecting far-infrared, visible, and high-energy photons from distant corners of the Universe. I'll present key recent discoveries from our missions and look forward to frontiers to be opened by others currently being built. I'll focus in particular on Gaia, the Milky Way surveyor launched in December 2013, and Rosetta which, after 10 years in space, will carry out its unique, exciting adventure to rendezvous with, escort, and land on a comet in 2014.

Mark McCaughrean

About Mark McCaughrean

Prof Mark McCaughrean works for the European Space Agency, where he is the Senior Scientific Advisor in the Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration, responsible for communicating the scientific results from ESA's astronomy, heliophysics, planetary, and fundamental physics missions. Following his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1988, he has worked in the UK, the US, Germany, and the Netherlands. His personal research involves observational studies of the formation of stars and their planetary systems using state-of-the-art ground- and space-based telescopes. He is an Interdisciplinary Scientist on the Science Working Group for the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

ESA Space Science website